Skip to Main Content

Ahead of the Curve

January 2018

PURPOSE

The Professional Development Advisory Committee’s (PDAC) purpose in providing you this communication is to further its goal of periodically sharing topical information regarding the legal industry. Our hope is that one or more of the updates will provide a spark of insight to assist with your work on behalf of ALA as well as within your firm or legal department.


    

"ATTORNEYS DON'T KNOW THE ETHICS GUIDELINES FOR REPLY-ALL FAILS"

A recent poll of attorneys by legal tech startup Winnieware found that attorneys often don't know what ethics standard applies in their state for when they receive confidential information accidentally.

Read more.

Resource: Gabrielle Orum Hernandez, Legaltech News


"COULD AMAZON, BERKSHIRE AND JPMORGAN TRANSFORM EMPLOYER-SPONSORED HEALTH CARE?"

"New entrants with fresh approaches like these may be just the prescription our ailing health care system needs," Brian Marcotte, CEO of the National Business Group on Health in Washington, D.C., told SHRM Online. The health care industry "is ripe for disruption and the collective resources of these three companies, emerging technologies and Amazon's customer obsession and supply chain savvy gives me optimism that they will pursue a consumer-focused model that will transcend the fragmented, provider-centric delivery system that we have today."

Read more.

Resource: Stephen Miller, CEBS, SHRM


"WELL-DEVELOPED COMPENSATION POLICIES AND PAY PLANS FOR LAWYERS"

"A well-developed compensation plan can provide a roadmap for law firms and lawyers to derive the maximum benefit from their association. To start, firms should devise written compensation policies, guidelines, and incentives to ensure lawyers are paid competitively and commensurate with individual contributions. When firms add progression policies and guidelines to this pay structure, their lawyer groups are usually found to be more productive and satisfied.

Not all law firms are ready for this type of advanced compensation and pay structure. Struggling law firms must first address their profitability issues before moving to a more sophisticated rewards system.  This may cause the firm to suffer from a competitive disadvantage and may result in a loss of good lawyers."

Read more.

Resource: Brian Kennel, PerformLaw


"THE MANAGING PARTNER’S GUIDE TO IT AUDITS "

"Your law firm runs on computers and, over time, your firm’s IT systems become outdated and security risks develop. Therefore, it's critical that your firm undertakes a periodic evaluation and examination, to make sure all systems are working properly and risks are not left unchecked for extended periods of time.

In many cases, you’re relying on your COO, your IT Director and/or your outside service provider to manage the situation. However, that reliance does not replace your ownership of this responsibility. As the firm’s CEO, you're the person ultimately responsible to ensure that the IT systems and controls are aligned with the firm's goals and legal requirements and are being managed, maintained, updated and kept current."

Read more.

Resource: Lee Hovermale and Don Champagne, Managing Partner Forum


"BETTER SAPHE THAN SORRY: DATA SECURITY IN DOCUMENT PRODUCTIONS"

"Why spend so much time, effort and energy protecting data when such efforts could ultimately be undermined by document productions? This article explores two specific opportunities providing greater protection in data productions—in terms of adopted standards for production hosting, and a new production format—both of which could thwart some of the greatest ongoing threats."

Read more.

Resource: Farrah Pepper and Marc Zamsky


"LAWYERS AND TECHNOLOGY: FRENEMIES OR COLLABORATORS?"

"The relationship between lawyers and technology is complicated. Many lawyers—especially those that did not grow up with computers—have a curious ambivalence towards it. They adopt technology for personal use but are reticent to embrace it professionally. They often tout their firm's ‘cutting-edge technology’ but do not provide a powerful voice to professionals within the firm charged with deploying it.

Technology is transforming every segment of the legal ecosystem including its: (1) workforce; (2) division of labor; (3) economics (4) structure; (5) providers; (6); skillsets; (7) career trajectories; (8) education and training; (9) customer expectations; and (10) culture. And while consumers and tens of millions presently denied access to legal services welcome the change, most lawyers don’t. Technology has upended predictable career paths and is recasting how, for whom, with whom, and on what terms many lawyers will work. In short, technology is changing legal culture and what it means to be a lawyer."

Read more.

Resource: Mark A. Cohen, Forbes


"PROMOTING NEURODIVERSITY"

While each of our firms are looking to ensure diversity in our firms, diversity means more than culture or religion. This article outlines a case study in which a professional service firm works with the autism community to develop a program to hire employees with autism. After one year of their pilot program, EY has successfully integrated four individuals with autism into one location and are looking to expand the program in other locations.

Read more.

Resource: Sarah Ovaska-Few, Journal of Accountancy


"WHEN TO SOLVE YOUR TEAM’S PROBLEMS, AND WHEN TO LET THEM SORT IT OUT"

This article is a great reminder for all managers. "Prior to taking a management role, you can measure your contribution to the organization by counting the number of important problems you solve. But the day you become a manager, the arithmetic changes. Your success is no longer measured by how many problems you solve. Instead, your role is to build a team that solves problems.

"Anytime you become the hero by solving the problem, you risk teaching your team that without you, the situation is helpless. Over time, and with repetition, you collude with your team in creating a situation that isn’t good for any of you. You surrender your bandwidth to low priority tasks and you reinforce weakness in your team."

Read more.

Resource: Joseph Grenny, Harvard Business Review 


"HOW AI IS ENABLING LAW FIRMS TO ADAPT TO VALUE-BASED PRICING"

"Artificial intelligence allows for the legal industry to adapt to an increasingly competitive marketplace in ways that benefit both law firms and corporate legal departments"

Read more.

Resource: Raj Goyle, Bodhala, LegalTech News


"6 ROLES TO EMBRACE IN AN EVOLVING LEGAL INDUSTRY"

"Like most businesses, the talent and potential of a law firm’s workforce can be a significant determinant factor in its success and growth, which is a concept that certainly extends to a law firm’s ability to keep pace with the evolution occurring in our industry."

Read more.

Resource: Rob MacAdam, Law 360


"WINTER IS HERE FOR EMPLOYERS: 5 WAYS TO COPE"

2018 started in the grip of record cold and blizzard conditions, employers and LAW FIRMS should be taking care to avoid missteps that can cause legal trouble, like not properly paying workers on snow days or failing to maintain safe environments.

Read more.

Resource: Vin Gurrieri, Law 360


"2018 PREDICTION — LAWYERS MUST CHANGE HOW THEY WORK"

“To succeed, large firms must battle for market share while taking steps to protect profits. The best way to do both is by improving value and service. More value and better service means lawyers and firms must change how they work. Anything else is just window dressing.”

Read more.

Resource: Ron Friedmann, Prism Legal


"DIFFERENTIATION IN THE NEW LEGAL MARKETPLACE AND WHY IT MATTERS"

"The legal industry is transitioning from guild to marketplace. Differentiation is becoming critically important in a field long known for the homogeneity of its providers and the acquiescence of its buyers."

Read more.

Resource: Mark A. Cohen, Forbes


"HOW WILL GENERATION X LEAD BIG LAW?"

"Stop obsessing about the millennials (for now). Gen X lawyers are moving into top leadership roles at firms, while confronting challenges that their predecessors never faced. Are they up to the job?"

Read more.

Resource: Lauren Still Rikleen, The American Lawyer


"5 EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK ISSUES TO WATCH IN 2018"

"The federal government’s focus on deregulation combined with active state legislatures and municipalities means a cookie-cutter employee handbook isn’t a realistic option for employers. Here are some of the key issues employers should monitor in 2018 that may trigger a handbook update."

Employee handbooks are never finished. Every year brings new changes that require updates to  employee handbooks. With sexual harassment and the federal government's focus on deregulation being prevalent in 2017's news headlines, 2018 is sure to have critical updates that need to be made to employee handbooks. 

Read more.

Resource: Lisa Nagele-Piazza, SHRM-SCP, JD, and Beth Zoller, JD 


"GETTING TO THE SOURCE"

"Nowadays, recruiting systems don't just collect and track applicants, CVs and interview summaries. They also keep mounds of data about the individual applicants and recruiting processes. Yet while these solutions have long provided information about metrics such time to fill, cost per hire and the number of candidates from a given recruitment source, they are only now beginning to address, in a meaningful way, the best sources of top talent."

This article outlines further the data that can be analyzed and how you can leverage your knowledge about current successful employees as it relates to your hiring process. 

Read more.

Resource: Larry Stevens, Human Resources Executive Online


"RETHINKING TELEWORK

"

"Indeed, the appeal of telework has diminished at a small but growing number of employers over the past couple of years, with some companies concluding that such workers are not as productive, engaged, creative, responsive or flexible when adapting to changing market demands."

This article shows both sides of where companies are on working from home. There is a shift back to thinking that workers are more productive and innovative while at the office. 

Read more.

Resource: Carol Patton, Human Resources Executive Online



"THE NEW CEO ACTIVISTS"

"CEOs used to avoid wading into controversy, and for good reason: Speaking out on a hot-button issue would surely alienate at least some customers. But the rules have changed. Social upheaval and government paralysis have prompted many corporate leaders to join the debates on LGBT rights, immigration, race and other contentious topics. In fact, in the age of Twitter, their customers and employees often expect this of them. So how can CEOs determine whether to add their voices to an issue of political (if not necessarily strategic) urgency? And how can they do so effectively?"

Read more.

Resource: Aaron K. Chatterji and Michael W. ToffelHarvard Business Review


ALA Thumb

    

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Sharon Meit Abrahams, EdD — Foley & Lardner LLP

Jennifer Colwell, CLM, MBA — McGill, Gotsdinger, Workman, & Lepp

Kevin Costello — Holland & Knight LLP

Tammy Cowser, PHR, CP — Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP

Lisa Dasher, CLM, CPA, CGMA — Wicker Smith O'Hara McCoy & Ford P.A.

Rick Hellers — nQueue Billback LLC

Lana McGinnis, CLM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP — Sturgill Turner Barker& Moloney, PLLC

Paul Morton — Burns & Levinson LLP

Stephen Wolf, CLM — Deutsch Kerrigan & Stiles, LLP

ALA Board of Directors Liaison to Committee

James Cornell III — Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, PC

ALA Liaison to Committee

Patricia S. Carrera, JD, CKM, CPLP — ALA's Sr. Director, Member Experience

pcarrera@alanet.org; 847-267-1252